O.D. (Ordinary Dog) Alice
O.D. (Ordinary Dog) Alice
O.D. (Ordinary Dog) Alice became the mascot of HMCS CAYUGA after she was found, hungry and abandoned, on a wharf at Guam in 1950. The formerly unwanted pup soon became a celebrity as visiting journalists would often mention her in their reports back home. "Alice never doubted for one minute that she was human, and acted accordingly." recalls author Edward C. Meyers in his book about the Royal Canadian Navy in Korea Thunder in the Morning Calm.
One of Alice's publicized adventures occured during HMCS CAYUGA's second Korean trip, when she nearly lost her life because of an oil slick. Alice had a habit of jumping between her own ship and the tankers during refueling operations and while CAYUGA was fueling in a Korean Harbour, Alice paid her usual call to the oiler. As she started to jump back aboard CAYUGA, she slipped on a patch of oil which sent her tumbling into the narrow strip of water between the two ships.
Apparently, Alice put her back against the tanker's side and her feet against the destroyer and tried to "walk" herself clear. Concerned with Alice's predicament and fearing she would be squeezed to death between the ships, Leading Seaman James Tyre of Vancouver, who had been caring for Alice, called to the bridge to ask for a gun to shoot the dog.
However the captain, Commander James Plomer, had already perceived the situation and had ordered an urgent pipe: "Clear lower decks - rescue Alice between ships!" It was said that the order drew a swifter reaction than the action station bell, a testament to how much Alice was loved.
The lines were slackened aft; both ships parted a little and AB Norman Nelson of Vancouver slid down CAYUGA's side on a line , took hold of Alice by the scruff of her neck and lifted her to safety. Thus ended one of Alice's adventures...
Alice's eventual retirement from shipboard life is recounted in the following article from the Vancouver Sun newspaper of 9 April 1951:
Amid the shouting and excitement of a warship returning from war service in Korea, a plucky little brown-and-white puppy was dying of a broken heart.
Mascot of HMCS CAYUGA is a brown-eyed sentimental bundle of fur that goes by the affectionate name of "Wren Alice". She joined the destroyer at Guam last July when Leading Seaman George Johnson found her on an old wharf, hungry and alone. The 285 men and a girl went through eight months of war together. It was a comradeship that meant a lot to the sailors and everything to the little orphan pup.
This weekend, as thousands cheered her shipmates in a strange harbour, that comradeship came abruptly to an end. While her buddies trooped ashore, the mascot faced three months quarantine required by Canadian law.
'She did a lot for all of us,' a seaman observed quietly. 'She stood her share of watches. She was a real comrade. And she was a reminder that somewhere across the ocean was a world which had other things in it besides twin Bofors and 65 pound shells.'
After spending time in quarantine, Alice received her papers to become a full- fledged Canadian. Jim Tyre became Alice's keeper and in 1952, she left CAYUGA to live with the Tyre family as their family pet.
By Clare Sharpe, museum Exhibit Designer/Webmaster